Mount Merapi is pictured erupting in October 2010. Merapi is one of two Indonesian volcanoes to have erupted over the weekend. Trisnadi/AP

Residents flee after Indonesian volcano spews fresh ash

Thousands are evacuated after Mount Karangetang shoots gas and debris up to 600m in the air in central Indonesia.

THE RESIDENTS OF a small island in central Indonesia have been forced to flee their homes after a volcano on the island began to cough up fresh clouds of ash and debris.

The AP quotes state volcanologists as saying Mount Kerangetang had begun to spill lava and shoot gases up to 600m in the area, while ash began to pour down its sides.

CNN reports that at least 1,200 people have been evacuated from their homes, quoting the country’s National Disaster Management Agency – while AFP suggests that around half of that number live in three villages within 4km of the volcano’s western peak.

“The volcano is still in the phase of eruption,” it quotes another volcanologist as saying. “We detected lava slow which reached as far as 1,800 metres.”

Though there were no reports of injuries as yet, several houses and a church had been damaged. Kerangetang last erupted in August, killing four people.

Its eruption came just after another Indonesian volcano in the so-called Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, Mount Merapi, buried 21 houses on Saturday night.

The Jakarta Post reports that heavy rains on Saturday afternoon helped to mute its damage, though the floods also helped to distribute the hot emissions from the volcano, as hot sand and stone washed through local villages.

That eruption did not cause any fatalities, though a family of three people who had struggled to evacuate their home sustained burn injuries.